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California Western Celebrates Alumni Weekend

Oct 16 2023
CWSL alumni, across 50-plus years, came together to celebrate our collective success.
CWSL alumni, across 50-plus years, came together to celebrate our collective success.

In the first gathering of its kind in years, California Western’s Alumni Weekend brought together hundreds of alumni from across the state to celebrate the success that the school has helped foster and the service it is aiming to provide to the community for years to come.

With attendees ranging from the class of ’68 to the class of ’23, the weekend demonstrated the lasting impact that a CWSL education has on its students. Alums were eager to visit old classrooms, reflecting on the life-changing lessons they learned from past deans and professors, and to learn about the exciting new ventures under way across the institution—at the California Western Law Review, in our renowned clinics, and in the Competitive Advocacy Program, which has again qualified for the ABA’s Appellate Advocacy National Championship.

Saturday evening’s reunion at Harbor and Sky was filled with smiles and storytelling, as alums, young and old, continued to celebrate what California Western means to them.

President and Dean Sean Scott took the opportunity to share with alums an overview of the school’s accomplishments in the three years of her tenure and her vision for the legacy she wishes to leave behind at the school, including a modernized competitive advocacy practice space, a rigorous bar skills program, and a variety of curricular opportunities under the umbrella of the Law, Justice, and Technology Initiative.

The weekend closed out with the Distinguished Alumni ceremony, hosted by David Finn ’06, President of the Alumni Board, who invited the Honorable Lupe C. Rodriguez Jr. ’94 to distribute the awards. The awardees represented a broad spectrum of the legal profession, including esteemed litigators, fierce social justice advocates, and internationally recognized professors. Judge Rodriguez noted that “these Distinguished Alumni are true exemplars of the profession and represent the best of what California Western can be.”

Among the fifteen awardees, there were two common themes. The first was how well California Western had prepared them to have successful careers in law. Randy Grossman ’95, who most recently served as United States Attorney for the Southern District of California, remarked that “there is no better preparation for a legal career than Cal Western.” The second theme was how supportive the CWSL community was and is, while they were students and beyond. Without fail, the awardees remarked on the mentorship they received from past alums in externships, internships, and clinics. They noted the opportunities they were given by alums once they graduated, to join their firms and rise quickly in the ranks. And they were happy to report that for years they had continued this tradition of nurturing the California Western community, paying it forward to the next generation of students.

The ceremony was a fitting conclusion to Alumni Weekend, demonstrating yet again what our community can accomplish together.

We want to extend our deepest gratitude to our Platinum sponsor, Troutman Pepper, and our Silver sponsors—Blair Search Partners, Bradford & Barthel, LLP, Consilio, Neyenesch, and 3 in 1 design— for helping us to make the weekend such a success. We look forward to hosting more events in the coming year as we head into our centennial celebration. 

The Distinguished Alumni Awardees were: 

Brandon L. Baker '03
Elizabeth J. Baker  '14
Katherine S. Bowles '10
Steven M. Bronson '06
Jaime N. Cage '12
Kate A. Clark '10
Chante F. Coleman '13
Gary L. Eastman '95
Mayor Grace E. Garner '13
Rick E. Gattis '74
Randy S. Grossman '95
The Honorable Tilisha T. Martin '02
Vice Admiral Bruce E. MacDonald, JAGC, USN (Ret.) '87
Ms. Chris A. Maxwell '75
Shannon B. Miles '06 
Shaun A. Spalding '11
Annie M. Rios '08
Kristin L. Scogin '04
Professor William R. Slomanson '74
Professor Bobbie K. Thyfault '84
The Honorable Mary A. Vasquez '11